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Pathology/Inconclusive nevus biopsy


Hi -

I am wondering - what factors would make the biopsy of a mole "inconclusive?" Is it very difficult to determine whether or not a mole melanoma?

The dermatopathologist has asked for more tissue. However, the mole was small and completely removed. Also, it is from a very sensitive area in the groin so it isn't feasible to take more tissue if it is not necessary.

I guess my questions is: what is the biopsy inconclusive for? Being benign? Being malignant? What does inconclusive signify to a pathologist?

Thank you.

Hello Heidi:

It depends on what the pathologist has seen in the biopsy. Often times the lesion is irritated, may have inflammation and reactive changes of cells which may lead to the designation of "inconclusive"

It is posible the lesion is evolving and the appearnace of cells is not clearly identifiable - hence inconclusive.

Sometime the tissue is to small / minute to make a definitive diagnosis.

A repeat biopsy with wider margins is recommended to arrive at a conclusion and or rule out malignancy


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Neha Dahiya MD


Help patients understand the medical terminology of their lab results and / or tissue biopsy reports.


I am a pathologist and director of clinical laboratory services. I have been a practicing pathologist for last 9 years in a 350 bed multi specialty hospital laboratory in India.

Indian association of pathologists and microbiologists.
International Academy of Cytology
International association of Pathologists - Indian division
Indian association of Cytology

MD (pathology) MBA

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